Overtime Issue Unresolved
PHOENIX, Ariz.--One unresolved issue for the NFL coming out of the annual league meeting is what to do about overtime games.
The problem is that winning the coin toss has become too much of an advantage in the sudden-death session. According to the league's competition committee, the team that won the coin toss has won more than 60 percent of overtime games in recent seasons.
The solution proposed by the committee was to move the kickoff in overtime from the 30- to the 35-yard line. That should have the team that wins the toss starting its first drive five yards further back and, the committee reasons, diminish the advantage. Between 1974 and '93, when the kickoff was at the 35-yard line (in regulation as well as during overtime), the team winning the coin toss won only about half the overtime games.
But the committee's recommendation needed 24 votes among the 32 teams to be enacted, and failed to generate the necessary support during the three-day league meeting. When the meeting ended Wednesday, the issue was tabled without a vote officially being taken. Discussions likely will resume at the next owners' meeting in May. But Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay, the co-chairman of the competition committee, said Wednesday he doesn't expect anything to be done before next season.
McKay said his aim is to tweak the proposal and try to do something for the 2008 season.
Some teams favor a two-possession rule. Under that idea, each team would be guaranteed at least one possession in overtime. If the game remained tied after each team had one possession, it would be sudden death from then on.
But the competition committee proposed that a few years ago and it, too, failed to generate enough support to be enacted. The main objection, McKay said, is that coaches might be too conservative late in regulation, knowing they'd get at least one possession for each team in overtime. The uncertainty of the coin flip and sudden death in overtime forces coaches to be aggressive at the end of regulation, the thinking goes.
There's little to no support for adopting the college rule of alternating possessions until there's a winner, or for simply having the game continue in overtime where it left off in regulation.
By Mark Maske |
March 29, 2007; 12:44 AM ET
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